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#Featured: ImpactAlpha Original
Only 4,913 days to go until Dec. 31, 2030. The clock is ticking toward the deadline for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, says United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. It’s becoming clear we’re going to go down to the wire to meet the targets world leaders adopted for the goals (see #2030 below).
“I need your help,” Guterres told a business crowd gathered this week as part of the U.N.’s High-Level Political Forum, a two-week session in which countries and agencies are to take stock of the progress toward the 2030 goals. Companies and investors sat down with the folks from government and multilateral organizations to discuss collaboration. Guterres has acknowledged that the rate of progress toward the 17 goals is far slower than is needed to meet the targets.
Read “Deadline 2030: Less than 5,000 days (and counting) to meet global goals” by Jérôme Tagger on ImpactAlpha:
#Dealflow: Follow the Money
Climate Trust Capital invests in first forestry project. Conservation fund Climate Trust Capital has made a $550,000 investment in a 6,000-acre forestry project in Connecticut. The new investment follows the $5.5 million fund’s firstgrasslands investment. Climate Trust Capital is a carbon-focused investment fund backed by the Packard Foundation and U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Connecticut forest is critical to the fresh water supply for Connecticut cities. Great Mountain Forest Corp., one of the nation’s oldest forest conservation organizations, will use the 11-year investment to ensure the forest maintains an above-average timber stock.
Kiva fund will give refugees access to loans. The micro-lending platform’s latest fund is making more than $9 million available for borrowing by refugees and host countries like Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. There are 22.5 million refugees spread around the world; five million from the crisis in Syria. “Beyond direct relief, there needs to be financial opportunities to help refugees assimilate and support themselves, and to lessen the impact they have on host communities,” says Premal Shah, Kiva’s CEO. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees found that helping refugees resettle in host countries pays off in economic progress and education. Traditional lenders consider refugees high-risk because of their transience and lack of documentation and assets. Kiva’s World Refugee Fund will make loans via crowd-sourced investments and funding from corporations and foundations. Kiva recently hit $1 billion in lending for underserved populations.
Canadian Engineers Without Borders backs edtech venture M-Shule. Engineers Without Borders Canada seeded the Kenyan startup with a $40,000 cash investment. M-Shule launched last year to help low-income students with text-based education. Its content is adaptive to each student, and is offered by subscriptions starting at 25 cents a week. The startup is piloting 400 mini-lessons in 15 schools in Nairobi. Engineers Without Borders is backing M-Shule to address gaps education systems in sub-Saharan Africa, where one billion children will require an education over the next 30 years. M-Shule is Engineers Without Borders’ eighth investment via its seed fund, which commits up to $100,000 in social enterprises in Africa.
See all of ImpactAlpha’s recent #dealflow.
#Signals: Ahead of the Curve
Scaling up financing for smallholder farmers. Around the world, a half-billion small farmers grow coffee, cocoa, cashews and other basic food commodities to meet the growing demand for food. They rely on farmer cooperatives and associations, traders and exporters, and processors further up the supply chain to link them to local and global markets. Many of those agricultural suppliers are locked out of formal banking systems and left without access to basic credit and other capital. That’s an investment opportunity for a group of social investors that are extending credit to agribusinesses in new and underdeveloped markets. Last year, the 11 social lenders, including Root Capital, Alterfin and responsAbility, collectively deployed $682 million, up 9% from the year earlier, to 765 agribusiness in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Read Dennis Price’s brief on CSAF’s state of the sector report, released today:
Progress is possible and the solutions are known. That’s what comes through the many reports and reams of statistics at this week’s U.N. session reviewing progress toward the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In almost every one of the areas covered by the 2030 global goals (and there are 169 targets and 232 indicators), many, if not most, countries are making dramatic progress, confirming that we pretty well know what works. We pawed through some of the preparatory documents (so you don’t have to) to bring you a dozen highlights from the baseline data. Here are the first six, with the rest coming tomorrow. (Fair warning: there will be a quiz!)
1. The end of poverty is in sight…in east Asia. Since 2000, global poverty has been cut in half. In eastern and southeastern Asia, the poverty rate declined from 35 percent to just 3 percent from 1999 to 2013. The poverty hotspot remains sub-Saharan Africa, where 42 percent of people live in extreme poverty, more than twice the rate of any other region. Worldwide, 767 million people lived on less than $1.90 a day in 2013, down from 1.7 billion in 1999.
2. Disasters are a disaster for the poor. Disasters hit far harder in low- and lower-middle-income countries. More than 26 million people are pushed into poverty every year by disasters, which now cause up to $300 billion in annual economic losses. According to the World Bank, weather and other disaster resilience-building can protect poor people save their communities $100 billion a year.
3. AIDS transmissions have been cut in half. Now comes the hard part. New HIV infections are down to 0.3 infections per 1,000 uninfections. That’s down 45 percent since 2000, and for children under 15 the drop has been even steeper. Ending Aids is another 2030 goal, but we’re not going to get there unless we can get to 90–90–90 by 2020. 90% of HIV-positive people to know their status; 90% of those to receive treatment; and 90% of those to show suppression of the virus. Right now, we’re 50–50 at best.
4. WASH your hands. Death rates attributed to the lack of WASH services (for safe water, sanitation and hygiene) in sub-Saharan Africa and Central/Southern Asia remain stubbornly high, at 46 and 23 per 100,000 people, respectively, compared to 12 per 100,000 people globally in 2012. Lack of access to hygiene is a major risk factor for infectious diseases and mortality.
5. The clean energy transition is about more than climate change. There are lots of adjacent benefits to clean cookstoves, electric cars and phasing out coal. Indoor and ambient air pollution is the world’s biggest environmental health risk. Household air pollution, mostly from cooking, led to an estimated 4.3 million deaths in 2012. Ambient (outdoor) air pollution resulted in another three million deaths. In 2014, 9 of 10 people living in cities breathed air that did not comply with safety standards.
6. Doh! Women do more unpaid work. Women spend roughly triple the average amount of time on unpaid domestic and care work than men, according to survey data from 83 countries and areas. Women’s unpaid work was the topic of Melinda Gates’ annual letter last year. Many parts of the world are making progress, she wrote, with three ‘R’s’: “Recognize that unpaid work is still work. Reduce the amount of time and energy it takes. And Redistribute it more evenly between women and men.”
Onward! Please send any news and comments to TheBrief@impactalpha.com.